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J Biol Chem. 1983 Sep 10;258(17):10649-56.

Kinetics of assembly of complex III into the yeast mitochondrial membrane. Evidence for a precursor to the iron-sulfur protein.


Complex III immunoprecipitated from yeast cells labeled in vivo with [35S]sulfate or [3H]leucine contained seven subunits with molecular weights ranging from 15,000 to 47,000 when analyzed by electrophoresis on polyacrylamide gels. The subunit composition of the immunoprecipitates was identical with that of the purified complex III isolated from bakers' yeast suggesting that the antiserum recognizes the holoenzyme assembled properly in the membrane (Sidhu, A., and Beattie, D.S. (1982) J. Biol. Chem. 257, 7879-7886). Kinetic studies using double-labeled yeast cells followed by immunoprecipitation of complex III indicated that the subunits of the complex are assembled into the holoenzyme at very different rates. Cytochromes b and c1 and the 15,000-dalton subunit were the first polypeptides to be assembled into the complex with a half-time of labeling of 2.0-2.4 min. Core protein I and the iron-sulfur protein were inserted more slowly into the complex with a half-time of labeling of 4.6 and 5.3 min, respectively. Calculations of precursor pool sizes of the subunits indicated that for both core protein I and the iron-sulfur protein, there are large pools of precursors. The iron-sulfur protein was synthesized in vivo as a larger precursor polypeptide of molecular mass 28,000 Da. The precursor was subsequently cleaved, in a process requiring an energized mitochondrial inner membrane, into an intermediate form 1,500 Da larger than the mature subunit. The conversion of the intermediate to the mature form occurred in the inner mitochondrial membrane.

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